Alex Cofield interviewed by Ree Robson
July 29, 2019
Alex Cofield was a student at Whitman from 1989 to 1994 and a history major. She got involved in the Gay Lesbian Association at Whitman soon after her arrival and came out publically as a lesbian early in her first year. After spending several years as a member of the Gay Lesbian Association and being an out LGBT student on campus, Cofield helped create the LGBTQ-activist group Coalition Against Homophobia, which was the political and issue-focused counterpart to the GLA. A well-known LGBTQ activist on campus, she was a leader in the community, organizing many events and protests against military recruitment on campus, "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and other issues, and giving many talks about her experiences as a lesbian. After leaving Whitman, she went on to complete a Master's degree in History at Ohio State, focusing on gay and lesbian history. Cofield currently lives in Ohio with her family.
In this interview, Alexis ‘Alex’ Cofield ’94 reflects on her journey to becoming an activist focused on gay and lesbian issues over the course her time at Whitman and her positions as an early leader of both the Whitman Gay Lesbian Association (GLA) and Coalition Against Homophobia (CAH). Cofield traces her various coming out stories over the course of her early life, commenting especially on the time she came out to the Whitman community publicly. As a member of both the GLA and CAH, Cofield reflects on their impact on the Whitman community and some of their events and programs. She also mentions her role in the student group AHANA2 (African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American + 2 (Jewish and Gay/Lesbian)), a student club was focused broadly on diversity, and talks about what she remembers of LGBTQ life in Walla Walla in the early 1990s. A history major, Cofield comments on how she brought gay and lesbian studies to her academic life whenever possible. Cofield concludes that the environment and the opportunities for activism present at Whiman gave her the chance to develop skills and become a leader in ways that changed her and shaped how she has lived her life.
1 digital audio recording: 01:29:54
Whitman College and Northwest Archives, Whitman College LGBTQ+ Oral History Project Recordings and Transcripts, WCA159
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